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Hard, withdrawn city cop Jim Wilson roughs up one too many suspects and is sent upstate to help investigate the murder of a young girl in the winter countryside. There he meets Mary Malden,... See full summary »
The ambitious Stanton "Stan" Carlisle works in a sideshow as carny and assistant of the mentalist Zeena Krumbein, who is married with the alcoholic Pete. The couple had developed a secret ... See full summary »
The editor of a New York exploitation newspaper meets the wife he had abandoned years ago, while using another name, at a LonelyHearts ball sponsored by his newspaper. She threatens to ... See full summary »
Low-budget, tabloid-lurid story with high camp value of older man falling for much younger beauty who's busy figuring out how she can kill him now that they're married. Nasty verbal ... See full summary »
Cleo Moore's demonstration of Blonde Ambition, mid-1950s style
In Over-Exposed, Cleo Moore makes an ascent from B-Girl to reigning photographer of café society that's as rapid as it is unpersuasive. She's a mid-1950s version of Blonde Ambition, or, as she puts it, `Where there's money, there's Lila green becomes me.'
She wasn't always Lila, least of all not the night the clip joint she'd just started working for got raided. The alcoholic, has-been shutterbug (Raymond Greenleaf) who snaps her mug outside the police station takes pity on her by showing her the rudiments of his craft. She's a quick study and, more to the point, a shrewd operator, buttering up monied old janes with appeals to their deluded vanity.
Off to New York, she tries in vain to land a job as a photojournalist, though she befriends a young reporter (Richard Crenna). Instead, she opts for the glamor and easy money to be had as a `flash-girl' in a nightclub; on the side, she snaps compromising photos for a sleazy columnist (James O'Rear). Soon, she holds a concession at the poshest watering-hole in town, the Club Coco; the fact that it's mob-operated doesn't bother her, but it bothers straight-arrow Crenna, who's thinking of popping the question.
Invited to snap a birthday celebration at the club for grand dame Isobel Elsom, Moore inadvertently records the dowager's death throes as she slumps while displaying her newly acquired skills at the mambo. Moore decently destroys the photo, only to have O'Rear steal and publish the negative; closing ranks, her society clients drop her like a hot brick. Up against a wall, Moore decides to dabble in blackmail, using as bait another inadvertent picture one that demolishes the alibi of one of club's mob backers, wanted for murder....
With elements of Shakedown and the soon-to-come Sweet Smell of Success, Over-Exposed stays a little too nice to rival them. It pulls back from any real nastiness and grit in its eagerness to keep the hard cookie Moore soft at the center (and insure smiles at the ending). Still, there are smirky glimpses into the world of parasites and lick-spittles who buzz around money, as well as welcome, old-school turns from Greenleaf and Elsom. Moore flashes solid credentials as a brassy schemer, while Crenna takes yet another step in the career that would stretch, chiefly through the magic of television, from Our Miss Brooks to The Rape of Richard Beck. Over-Exposed, diverting enough to watch, is quite under-developed.
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